Community Service Worker

Working in Community Service

Working in the community service sector is an option that is becoming more and more attractive to individuals. In the current climate of economic uncertainty where many sectors, especially the banking and financial sectors, are looked upon with some distrust if not outright disfavor, community services can be a rewarding and interesting alternative to working in the private sector. A focus on community services, whether health, education or otherwise motivated, can give individuals a chance to contribute to social well-being while still managing to enjoy a relatively high standard of living.

If you have more of a social focus or have interest in working in the community services sector, getting started can be a relatively easy and straightforward process. This article seeks to provide some background material on community services, to help inform those looking to pursue work in this area. Further information on the specifics of programs provided in your community can often be found online, or at community centers around your location.

Types of Community Service Workers

The types of opportunities available to you as a community service worker depend to some extent on your specific community, but a range of different programs typically exist. For example, many communities offer some degree of health care services—while health services are typically financed by the central government, provision of health services and management of facilities is often left to communities themselves. Depending on size, health or service provision, opportunities could range from basic medical centers and public health related initiatives to larger hospital and inpatient/outpatient care.

A related set of programs typically involves care for the elderly and disabled, which many communities take on. Community workers engage in a range of care for these parts of the population, from social activities and care, to nursing and meal provision for those with impaired mobility.

Youth programs also typically constitute an important part of social services offered by communities. From after-school mentoring and care, to daycare and preschool for children whose parents both must work and are unable to afford private daycare or nanny services, to child welfare services which monitor at risk children and make sure they are kept in safe and loving conditions, there are typically a range of community services that focus around at risk youth.

Community service in the era of fiscal conservatism

One thing to be aware of when considering working in community services is that the current fiscal climate for government units, whether national, municipal or community, is one of fiscal conservatism. The recent financial crisis has spurred governments at all levels to examine their operations and make sure that public money is being spent appropriately, and with objectives being met. While this needn’t necessarily imply cutbacks for community services workers, it does mean that a focus on efficiency and quality is more important than ever before. As governments attempt to recover from the financial crisis and the financial impacts of stimulus packages, citizens— especially at the community level are being increasingly watchful to ensure that their tax money is being spent responsibly and appropriately.